Sunday, September 20, 2009

Deaf Services in the Ozarks

Source Link - Deaf Services in the Ozarks

A shortage of information about a group of people in need could be causing more problems for that population.

The Missouri Commission For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing says it's hard to know how many people in our area need deaf services. For instance, the Census Bureau isn't getting an accurate count when it goes door to door.

Communication barriers like that are the number one problem and it can't just be solved by learning sign language. Saturday The Commission held its annual expo in Springfield to highlight some of the deaf services in the Ozarks.

The commission says there are a lot of churches that have programs for the deaf. It also says many young people are starting to learn sigh language to become interpreters in Springfield. There is also the Sorenson center, which is a relay service in Springfield.Deaf people can communicate through a video conference and make phone calls.

With the national health care debate on the forefront here's the major problem for the deaf. No matter what coverage they get, there aren't enough doctors who know sign language.

"That problem has been with us for 150 years and it will last until people are ready and aware of the needs of the undeserved population," explains Barry Critchfield, Executive Director for the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The commission says each person is different when it comes to learning how to sign. It's similar to learning any other foreign language. Some people pick up quicker than others but it most likely would take a couple of years to become fluent.
Missouri Commission For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: http://mcdhh.mo.gov/